“Forty-seven days left!” she yelled after me.
Gosh, that felt good to hear. The day had been terrible and in attempt to restore some hope, one of my fellow teachers reminded me of the number of days until summer. But, I wasn’t just counting down days until summer, I was counting down my remaining days as PE teacher.
I shook my head as a mixture of happiness and sadness washed over me. I couldn’t wait to go back to PT school, but I didn’t want to leave the amazing people I had met while teaching. Deep down though, I knew leaving was the right choice.
The initial excitement of teaching had worn off and I found myself getting bored and frustrated faster. Playing games with my students and fellow teachers was fun, but I wasn’t sure if this was the career path for me. I didn’t feel challenged and was ready to try something new.
It seemed like everyday these feelings of dissatisfaction and wanting to leave kept growing. The only way that I knew how to stop them would be to leave. And, that’s what I did.
But, let’s fast forward through PT school and my first year of work. I started feeling bored, frustrated, and wondering if I should change jobs or really whether I should change careers.
All the same feelings returned. My initial response was the same- leave my job. Had I not previously left a job, I would have blamed PT or blamed my current job for the dissatisfaction. But, this was the second time I was feeling this way. I had already left one career for three more years of school and yet, I was starting to think maybe I should return to PE. I saw the pattern emerge and noticed I may have been wrong.
So, Instead of wondering if PT was missing something, I started wondering if maybe there was something I was missing within PT (or that I missed in PE).
Just as with PE, the initial excitement had decreased, I was feeling frustrated, and I was bored. I had more or less given up on my career without noticing it. In both cases, I thought I needed to improve my circumstance to be happy. But, I really needed to improve myself within that circumstance.
I didn’t need a new job, I needed a new vision. I needed to put effort into a job that I didn’t feel like I was getting everything I needed from. I needed to figure out what fulfilled me and figure out how to get it. I needed to add to my job rather than subtract myself from it. And once I did, I fell back in love with physical therapy and also my job.
Now, I’m not saying that this is all it takes in every situation. But, I think that every situation deserves careful consideration before we determine a change is necessary.
Many times we make our decision based solely on feelings- I did when I left PE. But, feelings are fleeting and if it is time to make a change, we want to base that change on actions and NOT feelings.
If you’re wondering whether you should change jobs (or your career) consider looking at our action checklist. We need to try and improve our situation before we change our situation. I KNOW, I KNOW, you HAVE tried and it hasn’t worked but…... go through the checklist and see if you can honestly check off the entire list. If you can, then maybe it is time to look elsewhere. If not, consider using our burnout quiz and free resources.